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Seizing the future

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Executive Summary

In November 2007, in response to the publication of two Department of Health White Papers outlining the desire to move care closer to home and the need for safe, high quality emergency care, County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust began a major review of its hospital services entitled Seizing the Future.

Following a major scoping exercise and the thorough, clinically-led, development of potential new clinical models, the Trust went out to extensive consultation on two main options that looked to move emergency and acute care onto the Trust’s main sites in Durham and Darlington and to redevelop the hospital at Bishop Auckland as a centre for planned care and rehabilitation.

This report details the extensive process that CDDFT, NHS County Durham and Darlington and other partner organisations undertook to ensure that this major exercise in service redesign had a compelling clinical case, was achieved following full consultation with the public and key stakeholders and resulted in a safer, more sustainable clinical service for patients in County Durham and Darlington.

The process was overseen by two independent bodies; a Department of Health Gateway Review Team and a locally established Stakeholder Implementation Oversight Board chaired by NHS County Durham and Darlington and including colleagues from Overview and Scrutiny and LINks. The Review Team undertook a series of reviews at key points during the process to initially review the outcomes and objectives for the programme and to confirm that they made the necessary contribution to government, departmental, NHS or organisational overall strategy. Latterly they assessed whether the anticipated benefits were being delivered and that any ongoing contractual arrangements met the business need. The Oversight Board monitored the implementation of the approved option against an agreed project plan, reviewed the plan at each Board meeting and tasked appropriate parties to complete the necessary reports within a defined timescale.

In making the decision to support the Seizing the Future proposals the NHS County Durham and NHS Darlington Boards were satisfied that the public consultation process had been fair and robust. Following this, NHS County Durham and Darlington worked with the Trust to look at next steps and recommended further and more detailed exploration of costs and affordability, ongoing involvement of the public, staff and patients, and in-depth work to ensure clinical safety across all services.

The Seizing the Future programme has been a massive exercise in service redesign and has been deemed to have been successfully achieved by the Trust, its partner organisations and those bodies tasked with overseeing its implementation. The success of Seizing the Future has given the Trust the necessary foundations to deal with the tough economic climate ahead and has ensured that the Trust has the knowledge and experience of large scale change that will be necessary to meet the challenges that it will face in the future.

Both NHS County Durham and Darlington and County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust recognise that the local health economy will have to use resources more efficiently to deliver further improvements while at the same time meeting the growing needs and demands of our local population. To achieve this we continue to work together to develop new approaches to delivering services.

Yasmin Chaudhry
Chief Executive
NHS County Durham and NHS Darlington

Stephen Eames
Chief Executive
County Durham & Darlington
NHS Foundation Trust

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